'American Riviera Orchard' has released its first product (but you can't buy it yet)

meghan markle launches lifestyle brand american riviera orchard
Meghan Markle launches her own lifestyle brandPool - Getty Images

Last month, The Duchess of Sussex unveiled her new business venture with a surprise post on Instagram announcing the launch of lifestyle brand, American Riviera Orchard. In a post shared to the new project's Instagram Story, a video showed the 42-year-old picking flowers, cooking and posing in a ballgown, set to a soundtrack of I Wish You Love by Nancy Wilson.

Several of Meghan's friends and influencers have, according to Instagram Stories, been sent a jar of strawberry jam from the brand – each one numbered, from an exclusive batch of 50 jars. Fashion designer Tracy Robbins and Argentine socialite Delfina Blaquier are among those who shared pictures of the gift, with Robbins tagging the brand and writing on her Stories: "Breakfast, lunch and dinner just got a little sweeter. Thank you for the delicious basket! I absolutely love this jam so not sure I'm sharing with anyone. Thank you, M!"

duchess of sussex
The duchess has announced her latest venture, a lifestyle brandMax Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

Products are not yet available to the general public, but the Duchess is expected to officially launch American Riviera Orchard later this spring. "She is excited about her latest, personal venture," a source recently told People. "This is something she’s been wanting to do for a while. She is excited to share her style and things that she loves."

The bio for the new Instagram page (which currently has over 300,000 followers) simply reads: 'by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex⁣⁣⁣. ⁣⁣Established 2024⁣⁣⁣'. The only posts so far make up a composite image of the brand's logo and name in flowing script, with 'Montecito' – the California neighbourhood that she and husband Prince Harry relocated to in 2020 – written underneath.

The website for American Riviera Orchard shows the same information as the Instagram page, but with the added opportunity to enter your email address and 'join the waitlist', presumably to be first to receive notice of any upcoming content.

According to reports, American Riviera Orchard will focus on home, garden, food and general lifestyle content. It's alleged that the brand will also sell a variety of home goods, such as cookbooks, food and kitchenware. Some have noted that the brand name is likely a nod to Meghan and Harry's newfound home in Santa Barbara, which has long been hailed as the 'American Riviera' for its climate, landscape, and food and wine culture.

"Meghan finds the name American Riviera Orchard perfect. It feels authentic to her. She can’t wait for the website to launch," the same source told People, adding that the brand "will reflect everything that she [Meghan] loves – family, cooking, entertaining and home décor."

Documents filed last month with the US Patent and Trademark Office sought to register the American Riviera Orchard name and trademark protection for goods, such as textiles, cutlery, jellies, jams (as we now know), marmalades and assorted food spreads. The documents also said the brand might feature cookbooks, retail space, "coffee services in the nature of tableware, tea services in the nature of tableware, servingware for serving food and drinks, decanters".

Of course, this isn’t the first time that Meghan has been at the helm of a lifestyle brand. Prior to her royal wedding to Prince Harry, the Suits actress ran her own blog, The Tig, from 2014 to 2017. Meghan has previously described the website as a digital "conversation between girlfriends", which covered fashion and beauty content, but also published inspiring pieces for young women. In 2022, it was reported that Meghan had applied to trademark The Tig, sparking speculation of a rebrand.

prince harry and meghan markle
Meghan previously ran lifestyle blog The Tig, which she shuttered when she married Prince HarryWPA Pool - Getty Images

American Riviera Orchard's Instagram post also marks Meghan's return to social media; she deactivated her personal account upon joining the royal family. Last year, an unverified Instagram account with the Instagram handle @meghan gained thousands of followers overnight and, in an interview published in August 2022, she teased her return to the platform. "Do you want to know a secret?" Meghan said. "I’m getting back… on Instagram."

However, the duchess has also spoken about the toxicity of social media, most recently during a keynote panel at the South by South West (SXSW) festival in Texas on International Women’s Day. "I keep my distance from it for my own well-being," she said. "You really wrap your head around why people would be so hateful – it's not catty, it's cruel."

austin, texas march 08 meghan, duchess of sussex speaks onstage during the breaking barriers, shaping narratives how women lead on and off the screen panel during the 2024 sxsw conference and festival at austin convention center on march 08, 2024 in austin, texas photo by gary millergetty images
Meghan speaking on a keynote panel at the South by South West (SXSW) festival in TexasGary Miller - Getty Images

In February, Meghan and Harry relaunched their new website, Sussex.com. The website’s homepage reads: 'The Office of Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex' and links to the Archewell Foundation, Archewell Productions and their Sussex Royal website. It's said the new site will bring more personal updates about the couple's activities.

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